Apple's iPad Air 5 could be way more powerful than previously expected

Apple's iPad Air 5 could be way more powerful than previously expected
It's weird, but although Apple's first new iPhone of 2022 is widely expected to retain a 2017 design and a 2014 screen size, said third-gen SE model has easily managed to capture the limelight ahead of today's big "Peek Performance" event, generating a surprisingly huge amount of interest among existing owners of devices like the iPhone 11, XR, and even iPhone 12.

Meanwhile, the fifth-gen iPad Air hasn't really made a lot of headlines in recent months, with that old OLED rumor proving erroneous (for the time being) and a few key selling points purportedly revealed in one comprehensive report back in January.

With mere hours left until the iPad Air (2022) will see daylight alongside the iPhone SE 3 and a fresh batch of Mac computers and monitors, the almost always reliable folks over at 9To5Mac claim to have new intel partially contradicting what we (thought we) previously knew.

Say hello to the iPad Pro Air!

No, we don't actually expect Apple to go with that moniker (or a similarly convoluted and confusing iPad Air Pro label), but if this last-minute rumor pans out, the company's "mid-range" 10.9-inch tablet could deliver the exact same level of raw power as 2021's ultra-high-end iPad Pro 11 and 12.9.

That's right, the iPad Air 5 is tipped to pack an absolutely mind-blowing M1 SoC, which Apple promoted as a "chip designed specifically for the Mac" family less than two years ago.

As you probably already know, that bad boy is a massive improvement over the A15 Bionic silicon used by the iPhone 13 lineup, which was until today expected to expand to both the third-gen iPhone SE and fifth-gen iPad Air.

2020's iPad Air 4, mind you, employs the same Apple A14 Bionic chip as the iPhone 12 quartet, and there are almost no words to describe how much more powerful the 2022 slate is likely to prove out in the real world.

Just like the iPad Pro (2021) duo, the iPad Air (2022) is all but guaranteed to crush the best Android tablets out there, Samsung's hot new Galaxy Tab S8 trio included, in this very important department, aiming instead to rival Microsoft's Surface Pro 8 and full-blown Windows laptops while holding a major advantage from a portability standpoint.

But what about the price?

That, our friends, is the million-dollar question, although obviously, the iPad Air 5 is not expected to catch up to the third-gen iPad Pro 11 in all areas, which means there should still be a significant price gap between the two models.

While the new iPad Air could "borrow" the iPad Pro's 12MP front-facing camera with Center Stage functionality as well, there's no word on a rear shooter upgrade. That means you'll probably have to settle for a single 12MP primary cam... or shell out some extra dough for a secondary ultra-wide-angle lens and LiDAR scanner.

The Apple M1-powered iPad Air (2022) is also likely to keep its predecessor's somewhat uncomfortable top-mounted fingerprint sensor alive rather than go the Face ID authentication route, and while its 10.9-inch display will undoubtedly be great, super-premium stuff like ProMotion technology is bound to be left out.

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All in all, there are definitely enough reasons to expect the iPad Air 5 to undercut the $799 and up 11-inch iPad Pro (2021), but we're very skeptical that the upgraded 10.9-incher will be able to match the iPad Air 4's $599 starting price.

A $50 or even $100 hike seems like a sure thing, and that's obviously not counting the optional 5G connectivity, which is virtually guaranteed to expand from the iPad Pro (2021) duo and the iPad mini 6. 

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